Seeing the evolution of products here at Gearist is definitely a cool part of the job. Within that, being able to see the response to a product by how many – or how few – updates are made is especially interesting. About a year ago we took a look at the Cloudracer from On Running [REVIEW HERE] and we were quite impressed by the upstart Swiss company whose inspiration was drawn in part from a garden hose. Well today we’re going to talk about the update to that shoe, the Cloudracer 2. Don’t be surprised if this review seems a bit shorter that most because On took a definite, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” look at this shoe and made only a few updates that have rounded out an already very successful shoe.
For those uninitiated, the outsole of On running’s shoes that use the Cloudtec system is NOT meant to be some sort of springboard as you might assume – rather, it’s meant to cushion ground impact. Truthfully, there isn’t a lot of change in the outsole of the Cloudracer 2 from the original Cloudracer. I liked the cushioning before and it carries over nicely into version 2.0 of this shoe.
The midsole of the Cloudracer 2 is definitely on of the places of the most change. First is it’s slimmed down weight where On managed to shave almost a full ounce (my size 11’s come in at 8.4 ounces versus 9.3 for version 1) which, for a shoe that was a bit heavy thanks to its outsole technology, is a very nice change. It also brings the drop down by a millimeter to 5mm versus 6mm in version 1.
The second and probably biggest change to the midsole of the Cloudracer 2 is the addition of On’s Speedboard. This midsole piece (see image) is meant to add stability to the shoe and by almost all accounts (including mine) it does a great job. Constructed with three different layers of function, the Speedboard enhances forward movement with length-wise rails from heel to toe. Next on the Speedboard is a set of diagonal ridges in the rear half of the shoe that are meant to give a better interaction with the outsole. Finally is a series of cross-wise rails. In version 1 of the Cloudracer I commented on how much I liked the firmness of the strobel board and in the Cloudracer 2 it’s no different, only this time the Speedboard really ups the game on stability and responsiveness.
Another place where the Cloudracer 2 has made some nice changes is the upper. First, the mesh remains one of the most breathable I’ve ever felt so well done there. Second, the mesh in the Cloudracer 2 is softer than the original (which I liked). This is a good change because some people mentioned quite a bit of buckling as well as some durability issues. This mesh works more with the foot and gives a softer feel. The last change to the upper that I’ll mention is it’s overlays. In the first version of this shoe the overlays were a combination of heat-bonded pieces and stitching. In the Cloudracer 2 however, the overlays and the entire support structure for that matter, has gone almost entirely away from stitches with the exception of on piece on the medial midfoot. This gets rid of interior stitching which had the potential for causing hotspots and also contributes to the shoe’s weight loss.
First, this is a racer so the fit is more narrow that an everyday trainer. With that said, I found the rear and midfoot of the shoe to be perfect on my very average foot. The forefoot and toe box, while not constrictive at all, are on the more narrow side so, if you’ve got a wider foot it’s best to try it on before buying. As for sizing, it’s spot on with industry standards.
As I mentioned above, the ride of the Cloudracer 2 is a more stable on and I give much of the credit of that to its new Speedboard. The closer to the ground feel and construction gives excellent ground feel and the response, thanks again to the stiff strobel board/Speedboard construction is very good. This shoe really shines as the speed picks up and the functions of the different parts of the shoe begin to work in congress.
The Cloudracer 2’s price tag is unchanged from version 1 at $129.99 putting it right with its peers in the high-end running shoe market. The added stability of the Cloudracer 2 is very nice. For me it made for a more able ride on some more technical runs where turns abound. The racing pedigree of this shoe has been proven on the Big Island of Hawai’i when it was on the feet of the Ironman World Champion, Frederik Van Lierde. While it is a racer and will struggle to go slow (trust me, you’re going to want to go fast), there’s a whole line of On Running shoes that can be your daily trainer while the Cloudracer 2 is itching to run come race day.
Born and raised in the great state of Virginia, Brandon is a former opera singer (true story) who’s had the outdoors flowing through his veins since day one. Brandon now lives in Colorado with his daughter Sydney (AKA, Baby Gearist).